Intra-Company transfer visas in order to continue international assignments

The communication serves as a policy directive with regard to the extension of international assignments, as well as to deal with subsequent international assignments.

 

 

Please read the following link for the official directive no 19 of 2014.

Intra-Company Transfer Visa

SA’s dysfunctional work permit system – Mangosuthu Buthelezi

prince-mangosuthu-buthelezi

IFP leader writes on the obstacles placed on employers trying to bring in skilled labour from abroad

 Dear friends and fellow South Africans,

Having served as Minister of Home Affairs for the first ten years of democracy, I retain a keen interest in migration issues, particularly as they affect the economic growth and development of our country. I was therefore concerned when last year’s legislative amendments to the Immigration Act included a requirement that could only obstruct the entry of skilled workers and ultimately deter investment.

It seems that legislative amendments by the Department of Home Affairs, and delays in administrative justice by the Department of Labour, have ensured that skilled foreigners applying to work in South Africa face a long and uphill battle.

When the Immigration Amendment Act came into effect in May 2014, several immediate problems caught the spotlight. Some were ‘resolved’ by delaying implementation, such as the need to obtain full unabridged birth certificates when travelling with one’s children. Other problems, however, are escalating.

One such problem is the need for work visa applicants to obtain a certificate from the Department of Labour that effectively confirms that no South African could do what they are being hired to do, and that they are not going to do it for less money or under worse conditions than a South African would.

When I entered Home Affairs in 1994, immigration legislation required a complete transformation, for it was predicated on the apartheid mind-set of keeping everyone out unless they fit a narrow and racist description of “desirable”. The laws we inherited were woefully incapable of bringing skills and investment into a democratic South Africa at the speed and to the extent that we both needed and sought.

Among the many challenges and obstacles we were confronted with as we engaged immigration reform was the fact that the Department of Labour was ill-equipped to certify that each and every foreigner applying for a work permit had the required skills and would not be taking a job away from a South African. This had to be determined another way, which was more efficient and shifted the administrative burden onto the employer themselves.

Thus we inserted the requirement for an employer to prove that no suitable South African could be found to fill the position they intended to fill with an appropriately skilled foreigner. This was achieved by advertising the position. The mere fact that an employer would accept a greater administrative burden to employ a foreigner than they would to employ a citizen suggested that a need did in fact exist for the skills that foreigner provided.

Thus, under the legislation I piloted, the Labour certification was removed and work permits were expeditiously issued.

Unfortunately, the Department of Home Affairs has seen fit to bring back the requirement for a certificate from the Department of Labour, while retaining the burden on the employer to advertise and prove the need to employ a foreigner.

Unfortunately, again, the Department of Labour is still ill-equipped to provide certifications and is struggling to cope with a backlog of applications for certificates. Without the certificate, a work visa application cannot be submitted. Thus months are being added onto what is already a drawn out process. Not surprisingly, skilled workers move on, taking their skills where they are both needed and wanted.

But there is an added dimension to the problem at the Department of Labour. On 12 December 2014, the Johannesburg Regional Office of the Department suddenly stopped accepting applications. That section “closed”. A printed notice was simply placed flat on a counter-top saying, “Please note that submission of applications is closed and will re-open on the 12th January 2015. Thank you.”

Nevertheless, on 12 January 2015, applicants were turned away by security who explained that the relevant section was “still closed”.

In terms of administrative justice and the responsibilities of Government, one wonders how an office of a government department can summarily close, without any notice, for a full month, presumably for the holiday season. Is South Africa only interested in economic growth and development for 11 months of the year?

Work visa applicants have had to wait a full month just to be able to request a certificate, and will still need to wait while the backlog of certificates is processed before theirs can be issued. Only then can they apply for the actual visa at Home Affairs.

This, really, is the tail end of a lengthy process, considering that the position must first be advertised and applicants vetted, a police clearance certificate must be obtained, proof of qualifications must be evaluated by SAQA and translated by a sworn translator, and the employer must provide several written undertakings as well as a contract that is conditional on the work visa being granted.

It would be fair for skilled foreigners to question whether Government is intentionally obstructing their entry into South Africa. But it seems more likely that Government has simply fallen into the trap, yet again, of adding more bureaucracy in the misguided belief that it will close all the loopholes. In truth, the greater the administrative burden on Government, the less efficient the process becomes.

If we want greater economic growth and development in South Africa, we need to empower individuals and civil society, rather than deferring all power and responsibilities to the State.

Yours in the service of our nation,

Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi MP

Issued by the IFP, January 14 2015

GABON (Country risk rating: High); 15 December; Countrywide strike action continues amid fuel shortages

An open-ended strike launched by the National Organisation of Oil Employees (ONEP) on 1 December has resulted in countrywide fuel and gas shortages in Gabon on 15 December. Low fuel supplies are significantly affecting domestic travel in the country. Cities currently affected by shortages include the capital, Libreville, and the city of Port-Gentil. The open-ended industrial action follows failed negotiations between ONEP and the government in late November. The Gabonese Refining Company (SOGARA), the only refinery in the country, has been closed since the start of the strike. The widespread fuel and gas shortages in Gabon are a consequence of this closure. Sustained domestic travel disruptions are anticipated in the short- to medium-term, particularly as further fuel stations close. There are additional concerns that potential fuel shortages may incite anti-government unrest across the country, including in major urban centres. Such events, should they occur, are assessed as being at a heightened threat of turning violent, as Gabonese security forces are known to forcefully disperse any form of public gatherings which are perceived to be anti-government in nature. Persons in Gabon should anticipate delays at both major and secondary transportation nodes for the duration of the industrial action. Clients are advised to maintain a flexible itinerary in order to mitigate any adverse effects that the fuel shortages may have on their travel plans. Furthermore, clients are further advised to avoid all large public gatherings as a precaution.

Information from Red24

From the Horse’s Mouth

Facts you did not know about South Africa (officially the Republic of South Africa and located at the southern tip of Africa)

This Special Edition on South Africa with contributions by the Ops Team in Cape Town – Thank You All!

1. How are birthdays celebrated?

Birthdays are quite a big thing in South Africa and even if you don’t want to celebrate yours you will probably be forced to by your friends. We celebrate with gifts and cake with friends and family at home or out at a restaurant.

2. When you first meet someone, how do you greet them?

Men and women generally shake hands. Friends hug and kiss.

3. What languages are spoken in your country?

South Africa has 11 official languages: English, Zulu, Afrikaans, Xhosa, Swati, Tswana, Southern Sotho, Northern Sotho, Tsonga, Venda, and Ndebele

The most common language spoken as a first language by South Africans is Zulu (23 percent), followed by Xhosa (16 percent), and Afrikaans (14 percent). English is the fourth (9.6%), but is understood in most urban areas and is the dominant language in government and the media.

On a lighter note:

South African English has a flavour all its own, borrowing freely from Afrikaans, which is similar to Dutch and Flemish, as well as from the country’s many African languages. Some words come from colonial-era Malay and Portuguese immigrants.

Here are some examples:

bakgat: [buck-ghut] Well done, cool, awesome.

bakkie: [buck-ee] A pick-up truck.

born-frees: South Africans who were born into a democratic South Africa – that is, after 1994.

braai: [br-eye] An outdoor barbecue, where meat such as steak, chicken and boerewors are cooked, served with pap and bredie.

bru: [brew] A term of affection, shortened from Afrikaans broer, meaning “brother”. An example would be, “Hey, my bru, howzit?”

chill bru: Relax, my mate. Take it easy.

eish: [aysh] Used to express surprise, wonder, frustration or outrage: “Eish! That cut was eina!”

gogo: [goh-goh] Grandmother or elderly woman, from isiZulu.

gogga, goggo: [gho-gha or gho-gho] Insect, bug. From the Khoikhoi xo-xon.

howzit: A traditional South African greeting that translates roughly as “How are you?”, “How are things?”, or simply “Hello”.

Jozi: [jo-zee] The city of Johannesburg, South Africa’s largest city, which is also known as Joburg or Joeys or Egoli (the city of gold).

just now: If a South African tells you they will do something “just now”, they mean they’ll do it in the near future – not immediately, as in, “I’ll do the dishes just now.”

now-now: Shortly, in a bit, as in, “I’ll be there now-now.”

lekker: [lekk-irr with a rolling r] Nice, good, great, cool or tasty.

sharp or sharp-sharp: Good, fine, okay, great

shebeen: A township tavern, illegal under the apartheid regime, often set up in a private house and frequented by black South Africans. The word is originally Gaelic.

takkies: Running shoes or sneakers. “Fat takkies” are extra- wide tyres.

tsotsi: A gangster, hoodlum or thug – and the title of South Africa’s first Oscar-winning movie.

voetsek: [foot-sak] Go away, buzz off.

4. Do you use a twelve hour clock, or a twenty-four hour clock?

We tend to use both completely arbitrarily

5. What side of the road do people drive on? What do we need to know about driving in South Africa?

We drive on the left-hand side of the road. Road infrastructure is mostly good and drivers tend to generally stick to the rules but first-time visitors beware – our taxi-minibuses have a mind of their own and their own set of rules which basically means that they do exactly as they please.

Note that the South African English for traffic lights is Robots (do not ask why – we have no idea!)

6. How important is punctuality?

Don’t be late! In fact, try to arrive to an appointment five minutes early. South Africans are punctual and being late is considered rude (though this may not always ring true with the Capetonians, who have their own ideas on time-keeping).

7. What types of music are popular? Who are some of your most popular musicians?

Miriam Makeba, Johnny Clegg, Freshlyground, The Parlotones, Just Jinjer, Eden and Goldfish to name but a few…

Listen to Miriam Makeba singing ‘Pata Pata’ –

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kCc61z9IFu4

and Freshlyground with ‘Doo Be Doo’ –

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kLuSyqMlm_U

and Bright Blue with Weeping

 

8. Are there any Traditional Dances?

Yes there are many – some examples are:

The Zulu Reed Dance – watching thousands of young girls attired in traditional Zulu dress sing, dance and celebrate their culture is a powerful and moving experience.

Volkspele – a South African folk dance tradition. The dress originated from the formal dress the pioneers or Voortrekkers wore.

And watch this video below to see some traditional Setswana and Gumboot Dancing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Np4Ti27g0NQ

9. What traditional Festivals are celebrated in your community?

Due to our cultural diversity and different regional areas we have many food, art, craft, music and cultural festivals taking place all over South Africa every year. One of the oldest and most colourful is the Kaapse Klopse (also known as Tweede Nuwejaar – Second New Year) traditionally celebrated in Cape Town on the second of January. Watch this to get a little taste of it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nBnsVgqkjxA

1o. What are your seasons like?

South Africa is famous for its sunshine. It’s a relatively dry country, with an average annual rainfall of about 464mm (compared to a world average of about 860mm). While the Western Cape gets most of its rainfall in winter, the rest of the country is generally a summer-rainfall region. In summer temperatures can reach as high as 45° C in some places and in winter as low as -13° C.

11. Tell us an interesting fact about your President?

Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma, GCB (born 12 April 1942) is the President of South Africa, elected by parliament following his party’s victory in the 2009 general election. He was reelected in the 2014 election. His father was a policeman who died when Zuma was young, and his mother was a domestic worker. He received no formal schooling. Mr Zuma has been married six times and has four current wives and an estimated 20 children.

12. What are South Africa’s major industries?

Among the key sectors that contribute to the gross domestic product and keep the economic engine running are manufacturing, retail, financial services, communications, mining, agriculture and tourism.

13. How do people spend their free time?

Socialising around the ‘braai’ , watching or playing rugby, soccer or cricket, going to the beach, eating out, enjoying sports of all kinds.

Our national teams are the Springboks (rugby), Bafana-Bafana (soccer) and the Proteas (cricket).

South Africans are sports fanatics (regardless of whether actually participating or just spectating) and we also host many international sporting events such as The Comrades and Two Oceans Marathons and the Cape Town Cycle Tour (formerly known as the ‘Cape Argus’.

14. What do people drink?

Beer, wine and brandy and coke (very popular with all locals)

Traditional beer was brewed from local grains, especially sorghum. Beer was traditionally so prized that it became central to many ceremonies, like betrothals and weddings, in which one family ceremoniously offered beer to the other family.

Umqombothi, from the Xhosa language, is a traditional beer made in the Transkei, from maize (corn), maize malt, sorghum malt, yeast and water.

Mageu is a traditional South African non-alcoholic drink, popular among many of the Nguni people, made from fermented mealie pap. Home production is still widely practiced, but the drink is also available at many supermarkets.

Rooibos Tea: [roy-borss] Afrikaans for red bush, this popular South African tea made from the Cyclopia genistoides bush is gaining worldwide popularity for its health benefits.

Amarula is a cream liqueur from South Africa. It is made with sugar, cream and the fruit of the African marula tree which is also locally called the Elephant tree or the Marriage Tree

15. What is a popular local dish?

There are too many to name only one – here are some of our traditional foods:

Bobotie: {buh-boor-tee] A dish of Malay origin, made with minced meat and spices, and topped with an egg sauce.

Boerewors: [boor-uh-vors] Literally, “farmer’s sausage”. A savoury sausage developed by the Boers – today’s Afrikaners – some 200 years ago, boerewors is South African food at its most traditional.

Biltong: [bill-tong] This South African favourite is dried and salted meat, similar to beef jerky, although it can be made from ostrich, kudu or any other red meat.

Bunny chow: Delicious and cheap food on the go, bunny chow is curry served in a hollowed-out half-loaf of bread, generally sold in greasy-spoon cafés.

Droëwors: [droo-uh-vors] Dried boerewors, similar to biltong.

Koeksister: [kook-sister] A traditional Malay and now also Afrikaner sweet, made from twisted yeast dough, deep fried and dipped in syrup. The word comes from the Dutch koek (“cake”) and sissen, meaning “to sizzle”.

Malva Pudding: is a sweet pudding of Cape Dutch origin. It contains apricot jam and has a spongy caramelized texture. A cream sauce is often poured over it while it is hot, and it is usually served hot with custard and/or ice-cream.

Melktert: which means “milk tart” in Afrikaans, is a South African dessert consisting of a sweet pastry crust containing a creamy filling made from milk, flour, sugar and eggs.

Pap: [pup] The staple food of South Africa, a porridge made from mealie meal (maize meal) cooked with water and salt to a fairly stiff consistency, stywepap being the stiffest.

Samoosa: [suh-moo-suh] A small, spicy, triangular-shaped pie deep-fried in oil. Originally made by the Indian and Malay communities, samoosas – known as samosas in Britain – are popular with all South Africans.

Vetkoek: [fet-cook] “Fat cake” in Afrikaans, vetkoek is a doughnut-sized bread roll made from deep-fried yeast dough. Mainly served with a savoury mince filling, it is artery-clogging and delicious.

16. What do you pay for?  

(1 USD = approx. ZAR 11.30)

In a restaurant…     A cup of coffee – R20.00, a Coca Cola – R15.00, a 2-Course meal for 2 people – nothing extravagant – R300.00

At a shop…   A loaf of bread – R11.00

17. General Safety?

Unfortunately, due to the extreme divides between poverty and wealth and rising unemployment figures, crime is very much a fact of life in South Africa and one has to be vigilant and aware at all times and take safety precautions wherever possible.

18. And in conclusion…

Famous (and sometimes infamous…) South Africans include:

Nelson Mandela

Archbishop Desmond Tutu

Charlize Theron (Actress)

Mark Shuttleworth (Internet Billionaire & Space Tourist)

Oscar Pistorius (Fallen Paralympic Athlete)

Evita Bezuidenhout aka Pieter Dirk Uys (probably the most famous white woman in South Africa)

** Meaning: From the highest authority. From the source.

Origin: In horse racing circles tips on which horse is a likely winner circulate amongst punters. The most trusted authorities are considered to be those in closest touch with the recent form of the horse, that is, stable lads, trainers etc. The notional ‘from the horse’s mouth’ is supposed to indicate one step better than even that inner circle, that is, the horse itself

Visa applicants penalised as VFS struggles to deal with application backlog

VFS logo

Earlier this year the South African Department of Home Affairs expressed their confidence in the then newly appointed VFS who would be managing the submission process of all visa and permit applications in South Africa.  Yet it seems that now VFS is significantly overwhelmed and is battling to correct an ever increasing backlog says Gershon Mosiane, Chairman of the Forum of Immigration Practitioners (FIPSA).


“Early this year the signs were there and FIPSA expressed its concerns both publically and to the Minister of Home Affairs,” says Mosiane of the situation at VFS where scheduling appointments was to take place within 5 days of registering an application on the new online booking system.  “In reality we have heard reports of some cases where applicants have been waiting for a submission booking for longer than 60 days. Presently at some VFS offices, submission appointments are only available in March 2015. The system does not allow for cancellations or changes which results in several thousand unaccounted no shows which clogs up the system”

“There has also been an alarming increase in complaints relating to appointments not being carried through with on time and often applicants end up waiting 7 hours to be seen. There is also no solution for poor applicants who are paying VFS with no service delivery commitment to them. Even after paying an extra fee for a VIP lounge, which is supposed to ensure swift processing, you are not guaranteed a par excellence service given the chaotic state of the system.” says Mosiane

Another huge source of frustration is the turnaround of submissions via VFS and the resultant communication to applicants.  Often it takes up to 4 months for a basic tourist visa application to be approved and by the time the applications are finalised the applicant is illegal and is declared undesirable on departure from South Africa and unable to return to for up to 5 years through no fault of their own.

Mosiane added that a further concern was that some applicants are now inadvertently facing rejection of their applications, “The new law states that one must submit no later than 60 days prior to their current visa expiring but if one doesn’t have an opportunity to submit because of logistical challenges at VFS, why should the applicant be prejudiced against?”

Adding to the applicants’ perils VFS have announced their office closures for the festive season, closing from the 19th December to the 5th of January 2015. Not only does this contribute to their extensive backlog, it also translates to the fact that no applications will be processed for a period of 16 days, while the Department of Home Affairs who managed the submission process prior to VFS’ appointment, never closed meaning applicants could submit over the festive period.

 

This is against the backdrop that in terms of the regulations, applicants have to submit at a Department of Home Affairs office not VFS. Therefore this closure will be governments’ failure to provide a legal obligation and is not a VFS issue

This closure will result in applicants facing rejections of their applications through no fault of their own and with the urgency of which some applications must be processed the new system is failing its clients.

There are no signs of improvement and similar to the power crisis in South Africa, rectifying these issues will take months, if not years. 

 

 

FIPSA is the Forum of Immigration Practitioners of South Africa, and consists of voluntary members who are Registered Immigration Practitioners. FIPSA functions on a regional basis and has a National Structure which deals with National issues impacting on the profession. There are currently 3 established regions: Gauteng, Western Cape and Kwa-Zulu/Natal.